Alumni Spotlight: Why Ryoko fell in love with Ann Arbor

American Life, Student Life, Student Stories

Meet our alumni, Ryoko! She lived in Ann Arbor for one year, 2019-2020. Before coming to the U.S., Ryoko worked as a Cabin Crew member at one of the major Japanese airline companies, ANA. While her husband earned his MBA at the University of Michigan, she was on leave from her job, and took a chance to enhance her English skill at MLC as a full time student for 10 months.

Ryoko resumed working for the same company after she went back to Tokyo, but now she works for the Business Development team to advance her career. In 2020, many Japanese companies decreased employees’ working hours due to Covid, and her company was not an exception. “The airline industry has suffered a lot from the pandemic, and that made me think a lot about my career,” she says. “It made me think of trying something new, and I decided to change my position within the same company.”

Now she is taking part in a new business development project that is not directly related to the airline business. “My target is to develop a new platform that customers use and earn their mileage in everyday life,” Ryoko explains. “I have so many things to learn and everyday is a new adventure!”

Ryoko with the farewell message from MLC family

Ryoko is a kind of person who always enjoys new challenges and adventures, and her attitude was the same while she was in Ann Arbor too. She enjoyed so many activities at MLC, even though she hesitated to join in the beginning.

“At first, I didn’t want to go there,” she said. “I had never lived abroad and I thought I didn’t speak English well enough. However, I just realized nobody cares! Everyone has the same goal to speak English well, and that’s it! The teachers and staff gave me many opportunities to learn English and that helped me a lot.”

Ryoko’s being very active was not only at the school. Despite the limited time she had in Ann Arbor, she knows how to enjoy this charming town very well.

“Ann Arbor is known for the town of University of Michigan which has quite a number of students from all over the world, and there are many cultures you can experience,” She provides a couple of examples. “Blue Nile Ethiopian is a restaurant close to MLC where you can enjoy Ethiopian cuisine! In my country, Ethiopian restaurants are hard to find and I never had a chance to try. Also, if you want something “AMERICAN”, I would recommend Blank Slate Creamery and Kerrytown Market. Blank Slate Creamery is the best ice cream shop in the world!! They taste awesome, and I can’t describe how great it is in words. Kerrytown Market opens the farmers market every week. You can find fresh vegetables, dairy products, and the local specialities there!” 

At the Michigan Stadium

She loves the lively atmosphere of this great campus town, and emphasizes that we should never miss the games of American football at Michigan stadium, the largest stadium in the U.S. “You will never forget the power of the yell from the spectators, even if you don’t understand the rules of the game!”

Thanks so much, Ryoko, for being such a great family member of MLC!! We hope you come back to see us and enjoy the Blank Slate’s ice cream in Ann Arbor again!